- IGT recently launched a segment dedicated to sports betting and digital gaming which are considered to be the areas with the greatest growth potential going forward.
- The new business segment of ‘Digital & Betting’ will comprise the entirety of their sports betting and iGaming efforts with the exception of the lottery.
- The company has announced the hire of Las Vegas bookmaking veteran Joe Asher to head up the sports betting business.
IGT remains optimistic that ham handed regulators and self serving politicians won’t seriously undermine the future of sports betting in the United States. They’ve tabbed sports betting along with iGaming as the areas where they expect to see the greatest amount of future growth with North America leading the way. They’ve done a bit of a revamp to their organizational structure to better highlight these high growth areas, moving iGaming and sports betting from the ‘Global Gaming’ segment to a new ‘Digital & Betting’ segment. With this move complete, they’ve now strengthened their execuctive leadership in sports betting with the hire of Las Vegas sportsbook veteran Joe Asher.
Asher will assume the newly created position of ‘President of Sports Betting’ effective October 1, 2021. Asher will report to IGT CEO of Digital & Betting Enrico Drago, who assumed that role with the creation of the new business segment in mid-September. The Q3 earnings call will be the first for IGT with their revised business segments so it’ll be interesting to see if the new division has been able to quickly have an impact and, if so, how much. Given his stature and high degree of respect in the sports betting industry it wouldn’t be a surprise for Asher to become a fixture in communications with investors and financial media going forward.
Enrico Drago, IGTO CEO of Digital & Betting is excited to have Asher on board:
“The PlaySports sports betting solution is among the most widely used in the U.S., powering approximately 50 U.S. sportsbooks for 20 customers across 18 states. We expect continued growth in our PlaySports business, and Joe Asher’s knowledge, experience, network and vision for sports betting are key ingredients to boosting our future success.”
Asher joins IGT from his previous role as CEO of William Hill US. He held this position from 2012 when it was created until the company’s buyout by Caesars Entertainment in April 2021. At the time he joined William Hill, he was with Brandywine Bookmaking which he launched in 2008. William Hill acquired Brandywine Bookmaking, American Wagering (parent company of Leroy’s Sportsbooks) and the Club Cal Neva sportsbooks in short succession as it quickly become a dominant force in the Nevada bookmaking industry.
Prior to his tenure at William Hill and creation of Brandywine, Asher put together an extremely impressive resume. He was honored with induction into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame in 2021. Before his move into sports betting he spent a considerable amount of time in the horse racing business with management positions at a number of tracks including Brandywine Raceway, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Foxboro Raceway. He worked for the Wilmington News-Journal newspaper as their Delaware Park racing handicapper. In addition, he worked as a track announcer and at one point was the youngest track announcer in North America. He has called races at Harrington, Foxboro, Brandywine and Dover Downs. He keeps his announcing chops strong to this day and serves as the guest announcer at the Elko County Fair every year. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Delaware School of Law and was admitted to the bar in Delaware and New York.
“I’m really excited to join Enrico Drago and the IGT PlaySports team to help this business reach new heights for our customers and our shareholders. This is a unique moment in the North American gaming industry as sports betting is expanding rapidly and opportunities abound. I have some background working in partnership with PlaySports and I look forward to working with our team to further enhance our technology and trading capabilities to serve our existing and future customers.”
Excellent hire for IGT–in fact, it’s difficult to think of a better hire that they could have made for this position. In addition to Asher’s vast experience in the industry they’re definitely banking on the contacts he acquired during William Hill’s quick rollout in Nevada and beyond to help them further grow their sports betting business.